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Jessica Rubin

If you ran into Jessie on the street, you might forget yourself for just a moment and stare as she walked past, you might turn your head and keep on staring because Jessie looks so damn good in her Jimmy Choos and her Prada bag and that gait that screams confidence, sexiness, allure. She is smoking a cigarette in a way that makes school girls want to buy a pack of Marlboro Reds and run home to practice bringing the long stems up to their lips, watching their reflections.

Jessie had her heart broken tonight by a man who worked too hard, who had a hard heart and a harder dick and liked to ring her bell at 2 am after drinking with the boys. Jessie went out tonight, not knowing where she was going, but she ended up in a bar where the girls give it up for shots at the bar and heroin in the bathroom. She had the kind of smile even in the face of sadness that would fool anyone into believing she'd had the day of her life and could give you yours too if you gave her just half an hour in the back room.

The men inside grinned at her as she walked towards them and licked their lips wet after she'd passed. The women gave her nasty looks and called her a snotty whore, mostly to themselves, some to her face. They adjusted their cleavage and primped their high hair as they watched her and they hated her as they tried to figure out her secrets. In the lounge where she did not belong, Jessie sat at the end of the bar and ordered a shot for herself, a shot of cheap house vodka, the kind she'd downed in younger years, and it was painful every stage of the way. It tasted like sin and her tongue hurried to push it down where it pricked at her throat in a steady stream, then set her stomach on fire, before quickly racing back upward to lighten her head with a slight tinge of ache. Jessie then bought a shot of Greygoose for the cheap bitch at the front of the bar who had mouthed "cheap slut" as Jessie had walked by to the cheap whore's boyfriend's delight. Next Jessie bought a round of Johnny Walker Blue Label for the motherfuckers in the back of the room by the pool table who hadn't yet stopped staring at her, a few of them making crude motions in the sign language used by rancid, nasty men everywhere to communicate their desire.

Jessie went to the bathroom and stuck her fingers down her throat above a rotting toilet, a chunk of the wall torn out to the left of her periphery where someone had either punched the soft plaster or kicked her foot in during sex while pinned up against the door. To her right, she caught glimpses of graffiti–For a good time call–your mother gives great---sex here 10/17/01–to 07/03/02: in loving memory. She purged herself, amidst signs of sex and violence, of memories of Gregory and her mother's calls all day–Jessie, How are you. Call me back. Jessie, I haven't heard back from you in days. Call me asap. Jessie–are you ok. Are you dead? Are you on drugs again, Jessie. If you don't call me back within the hour, I'm calling the police. She rid herself of thoughts of her job–ogling bosses and no returns.

She blew a line off the sink, white porcelain yellowed with age and misguided secretions, and a metal faucet, scabbed with rust. She blew a line off the chipping white edge of the sink that soared through her body and pierced at her heart.

Jessie walked out of the bathroom, newly born to the dingy interior of broken health codes, broken lives, trash talk, and spilled beer. You are all the low class scum of this earth she said, whirring by men slumped over their beers, resting their chests against wet countertops. And I am beneath you all, she screamed, strutting one heel in front of the other, so fast that the women dumbly fumbling in their purses for combs and tubes of color could not catch more than her back as she walked out the door, her bag swinging half a step behind her, her gait screaming confidence, sexiness, allure.

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